The Croatian Sheepdogs, bearing the scientific name “Canis pastoralis croaticus, were so named basically because they were reared by the Croatians or Croats who brought these dogs with them when they migrated from their native land to Croatia in the 17th century.

As sheepdogs, they were valued by these Croatians because of their use as working dogs, herding and driving sheep or cattle, and dependable watchdogs.

Croatian Sheepdog sitting on grass

Traits and Behavior

The Croatian sheepdogs earn their keep because of their inherent intelligent and energetic breed. Such canine characteristics have provided them with the edge of being excellent watchdogs, trainable, good companions, and a well-developed herding instinct.

Croatian Sheepdogs playing

Their inclination to being trainable, due to their intelligence, has been noted such that they are excellent dogs for obedience training, loyal to their master-trainer, show aggression when asked to, and, significantly, stay behind the master’s heel waiting for instructions.

While this breed was meant to be kept in sheep and cattle farms, they can be managed in residences that have limited areas.

Although, such limitation may also limit their innate potentials in which they may become noisy and destructive if not properly trained.

When it comes to their being sociable, they can become good companions to children and adults and can even blend well with other dogs for as long as they are trained to be sociable at an early age.

Pet Care and Diseases

Regular care must be considered and provided to these dogs because they possess valuable use to their owners, even if these dogs are healthy and require less maintenance.

Croatian Sheepdog tongue out

These sheepdogs are average shedders but it is recommended that occasional combing and brushing of the coat must be done to remove dead hair and to entangle some.

Regular bathing is important as these dogs have a strong tendency to catch dirt considering the nature of their work in open fields and farms.

Regular walking exercises and continued training must be conducted so that these dogs are kept on their toes with the agility that they exhibit and the energy that they give to any work command that they need to perform.

So far, there are no genetic diseases that have been linked to these types of dogs.

But while they are known to be hearty animals, they may also suffer from knee dislocation, arthritis when they aged, difficulty in birthing for the females, cataracts, cryptorchidism – failure of one or both of the testicles to fully descend, and bloat.


Because of their superior hereditary traits, the physical appearance of the Croatian sheepdogs has not changed much when weighed against the appearance of their early ancestors in the 14th century.

Such superior traits extend to their being considered a weatherproof dog which carries a predominantly black color with minor blotches of white on the chest or toes.

Croatian Sheepdog running

They somewhat look like a fox with its head relatively wedged-shape and lean, the ratio of muzzle and skull is 9:11 with the skull slightly tapering towards the nose.

Concerning their facial appearance, their nose is black, teeth are well-developed with complete scissors bite, lips are black, almond-shaped eyes in chestnut brown or black color, erect ears in a triangular shape, and neck that is moderately long.

Their body withers may not be so pronounced; however, they possess a muscular back and a broad chest.

When it comes to their limb gait, it is straight and of medium length supporting the dog with a steep bearing giving them a height (whether male or female) of 16-21 inches and a weight of 29-43 pounds.

The predominant base color of their coat is black with a hair length of 7-14 cm. Coat, over body and tail, is short-haired, soft and curly.

General Information

Their life expectancy is about 13-14 years. The average litter size is approximately 3-8 puppies. Other names include Hrvatski Ovčar and Kroatischer Schäferhund.

Breed Club

Watch the video: Hrvatski Ovcar Croatian Sheepdog